Dear Edison Township,
This is a request for public records made under OPRA and the common law right of access. I am not required to fill out an official form. Please acknowledge receipt of this message.
Detailed budget for current budget year (2019) for the Edison Fire Department
Please see attached.
This completes your OPRA request.
Dear Ms. Connell:
Thank you for posting the municipal budget. I had already downloaded this from the Township website. However, I requested the detailed budget breakdown specifically for the Fire Department for this year (listed as salary and expenses in the municipal budget). Thanks.
With respect to your August 22, 2019 follow-up (to your initial OPRA request) for budgetary back-up materials (the follow-up request having been made following the Township’s response to your initial OPRA request on that same date), please be advised that such back-up and deliberative materials are not disclosable. The case of Home News v. Bd. of Ed. of the Borough of Spotswood is clear that budgetary related back-up and deliberative materials are not subject to disclosure. That case in part provides, with respect to the budgetary deliberative documentation there (known as a “green book” in that case):
“The “green book” consisted of proposals for the coming budget year, financial data from prior years, projections, and notes made by the members of the Board as they worked through the budget process. Its form or content was never fixed, but changed from meeting to meeting, and even more frequently, as information developed and ideas changed. Although some of the materials contained in it were undoubtedly available to plaintiff as public records maintained by Board personnel, the compilation known as the “green book” became something else with the addition of budget proposals and requests, the application of new concepts, and the notes made by individual Board members. It was, in every significant sense, an accumulation of worksheets reflecting presentations and analyses of budgetary information, gathered by the business administrator and others; and it was no more subject to disclosure than any other papers reflecting work in progress toward the goal of producing a document that will eventually become a public record [e.g., the budget]. As a discrete document, the “green book” was no different from the “spread sheet” at issue in Asbury Park Press v. Dep't of Health, supra, 233 N.J.Super. at 383 . . .
No disclosure rule yet articulated requires the release of drafts and other tentative formulations created in the process of developing a document that, in its final form, will unquestionably be a record to which the public will be entitled to access. . . .”
Insofar as your August 22nd follow-up sought the back-up spreadsheets and the like for the draft budget, the same are not disclosable.
I would respectfully ask that you reconsider. I initially requested the detailed budget (breakout beyond what is listed in the municipal budget available on the Edison Township website) for the Edison Fire Department. I don't believe I requested budgetary back-up material. Thank you for you attention to this request.